Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya vowed on Tuesday that he would “fight on to the last drop of my blood” and die a “martyr.” We have no doubt that what he really meant is that he will butcher and martyr his own people in his desperation to hold on to power. He must be condemned and punished by the international community.
Colonel Qaddafi, who took power in a 1969 coup, has a long, ruthless and erratic history. Among his many crimes: He was responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. In 2003, after years of international sanctions, he announced that he had given up terrorism and his pursuit of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
We applauded those changes, and we are not eager to see Libya once again isolated. But Colonel Qaddafi’s brutal suppression of antigovernment demonstrations has left no doubt that he is still an international criminal.
But the Times has consciously done everything they could to make the Gaddafi family look like reasonable people over the years.
They published an op-ed by Gaddafi in 2009, pushing for the Jewish state to be subsumed in a larger Arab state.
They published Saif Gaddafi's whitewash of Libya's welcome to an arch terrorist. (Remember, Saif was the one who threatened all protesters on Libya TV on Sunday.)
And here is an unreal puff piece on Saif as well, from 2007:
The man — part scholar, part monk, part model, part policy wonk — was Saif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the powerful 33-year-old son of Libya’s extroverted and impulsive president, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. He is, in short, the un-Qaddafi.It is easy for the NYT to be against the crazed regime once they start bombing their own citizens, or once the inevitable stories of their support for terrorism (including reports that Gaddafi himself ordered the Lockerbie bombing) surface.
The younger Qaddafi is in the final stages of his Ph.D. program in governance at the London School of Economics, and his meticulous training showed itself in Cyrene, a rare appearance for him at a large public event. He reeled off statistics about the rate of desertification and calculations of the tens of thousands of jobs that could be created in fisheries, architecture and ecotourism in the region with his project.
Speaking with a small group of journalists after his presentation, he listened carefully to questions in Arabic and English, thinking before each answer. Although his handlers had announced that journalists should confine their questions to the ecotourism project, the queries inevitably got broader, having not been screened in advance.
“What about democracy in Libya?” someone asked.
“Of course we are going toward more democracy,” Mr. Qaddafi said carefully. “But this project is not about democracy.”
But where were they in the years beforehand?
They were the Gaddafi's main cheerleaders in the West.
Which makes this editorial taste very bitter indeed.
(h/t and all research David G, plus Zach N)